It was Australia Day on the 26th January and it made me fondly miss my home country. It is peak summer over there and the weather was hot. I thought of what I would be doing if I was home. There would be a visit to the beach and lots of ice-cream eaten. Perhaps a visit to the harbour to watch the yacht parade. A gathering of friends and family would take place that would involve a bountiful, summer feast. It made me incredibly sentimental.
To honour this day, I made this Lamington Pavlova. A hybrid of 2 quintessential Australian desserts. A simple cocoa infused meringue recipe that is layered and topped with lamington flavours. Delicious and just what I needed.
To all my fellow Australian friends – hope you had a great day!
FOR THE MERINGUE
6 large egg whites
300g caster sugar
1 pinch cream tartar or salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp cocoa powder
FOR THE WHIPPED COCONUT CREAM
300ml double cream or whipping cream
1 tsp coconut extract
FOR THE TOPPINGS
Good quality morello cherries (store bought)
Toasted dessicated coconut
FOR THE CHOCOLATE SAUCE
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 tbsp diced unsalted butter
Preheat the oven to 90C/200F/Gas Mark 1/4. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
To make the pavlova, carefully separate the egg whites from the egg yolks. Allow the egg whites to comes to room temperature for 30 mins before whisking. Add the cream of tarter or salt and the vanilla essence to the bowl with the egg whites. Whisk the mixture on low - medium speed until you get soft peaks. Turn up the speed to medium - high and add a spoonful of the caster sugar one at a time to the mixture. The sugar is to be added gradually but does not have to be dissolved completely between each addition. When all the sugar has been added, the mixture should be thick and glossy. The sugar should be dissolved - to test this, rub some of the mixture between your fingers. It should not feel grainy - if it does continue to whisk until the mixture is no longer grainy to the touch. Do not over beat the mixture otherwise it will collapse during baking. Add the cocoa powder to the mixture but do not mix thoroughly. You want to create a marble effect. Divide the mixture between both trays. Create a circle ensuring the sides are slightly higher than the middle so you create a crater to house the whipped cream. Bake in the oven for 1 1/2 hour, turn off the heat and allow the pavlova to cool completely in the oven.
In a separate bowl whip the double cream with the coconut extract.
To make the chocolate sauce, combine the cocoa powder, caster sugar and water in pan. Bring to a boil while whisking to dissolve the cocoa powder and sugar and remove any lumps. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter until dissolved.
To assemble the pavlova, top 1 meringue with the whipped cream, the morello cherries including the sauce, and desiccated coconut. Place the other meringue on top and add more whipped cream, morello cherries and desiccated coconut. Lastly sprinkle a generous serving of chocolate shavings and the chopped hazelnuts. Best to serve immediately.
Only use a stainless steel, copper, glass or ceramic bowl to whip the egg whites.
I like to draw 2 circles onto the baking paper to ensure both meringues are the same size.
If you want to make a bigger meringue - use the ratio of 50g caster sugar to 1 egg white.
The chocolate sauce can be made ahead and kept in the fridge for up to 1 week. It can be served cold or warm.